Calls for Ryan Seacrest to be pulled from his position as E!’s red carpet host following allegations of sexual misconduct went unanswered Sunday night, as the network took a gorgeous swan dive into its own think-piece grave.
Finishing off an award season that saw the network relentlessly at odds with the social and industry movement it was reporting on, E! covered the red carpet for an Academy Awards that promised to put the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements at the forefront with a man accused of sexual misconduct as its face.
Seacrest has denied all the allegations against him. Many critics ventured that removing him as host would not be a judgment on his guilt, but an editorial decision that signaled that E! recognized the unfortunate optics of having him on the carpet at this moment while the controversy played out.
There were reports that publicists were encouraging their clients to refuse interviews with Seacrest, which spoke to the awkward position E! has put stars in by forcing them to choose whether to make a political statement of judgment about his guilt by skipping his interview, or seeming complicit or dismissive of the allegations by participating.
It’s also worth noting that E! reportedly aired its red carpet coverage on tape delay in order to protect Seacrest should anyone he interview confront him during the telecast, and that a longtime red carpet telecast producer was fired after allowing an interview in which Eva Longoria spoke out against the network’s alleged gender pay gap after host Catt Sadler quit the network, citing lower pay than her male counterpart.
Keeping him on air seemed to be a disastrous decision, considering how few major stars stopped to talk the channel—a channel that hangs its hat on how many major stars it grants viewers access to. The Jennifer Lawrences, Meryl Streeps, Jane Fondas, Jennifer Garners: they all skipped him.
So given the questions about how a red carpet hosted by Seacrest would look, and whether anyone would actually talk to him, here’s a list of all the celebrities who did. (Spoiler alert: Not many!)
- Sofia Carson
- Diane Warren (who was last nominated for the ballad “Til It Happens to You” about rape and sexual assault survivors from the documentary The Hunting Ground)
- Gael Garcia Bernal
- Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos
- Allison Janney
- Christopher Plummer
- Andy Serkis
- Richard Jenkins
- Bradley Whitford, Lil Rey Howery, and Betty Gabriel
- Donald Sutherland
- Rita Moreno
- Eiza Gonzalez
- Mary J. Blige
- Common and Andra Day (talking about their nominated empowerment anthem “Stand Up for Something” being about everyday people who stand up against abuse and injustice and the need for action)
- Taraji P. Henson
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Tiffany Haddish